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How to Celebrate a Foreign New Year around the World

Bright fireworks over a dark, clear sky As common as fireworks can be, that’s far from the only way to usher in the New Year’s abroad and at home.

Another year came and went. Time flies so fast when we aren’t keeping a close look on it, huh?

Existential crisis aside, the New Year is coming and the holidays are upon us. Do you know what that means?


After all, this only comes, well, once a year. It’s only right that you celebrate it to the fullest. The holiday season is the time that everyone is supposed to relax and enjoy. It’s when the world temporarily comes to a halt, think about the things that happened during the entire year, and then breathe.

So stop, think, and breathe.

And if you want to break out of your New Year routine, go out. See what other people around the world do at the start of the year and celebrate it with them! Go travel and enjoy a foreign new year with different people for a change.

How Asia Celebrates the New Year

  • China

One thing China does on New Year’s that stands out to everyone else is their gift-exchange tradition. And the red envelopes.

They give red envelopes filled with money to children and retired people. They use the red envelope in hopes of giving good luck to the people who receive them. In recent years, they have come to use apps to send red envelopes to people instead of the real thing.

Aside from that, they also give alcohol, tea, fruits, and candies.

You should also know that, officially, Chinese New Year is on February 1st instead of January 1st.

  • Thailand

In Thailand, people exchange gifts as well and visit temples in order to participate in temple rituals. During this time, Rama IX Golden Jubilee Temple is the most visited in Bangkok. If you plan to go to Thailand this year, prepare yourself for some religious celebrations.

Some of the entertainment will be toned down during the New Year’s because everyone will participate in some of the more traditional aspects of the holiday itself. Guests are welcome to pay a visit to the Rama IX Golden Jubilee Temple and join the rituals.

  • The Philippines

In the Philippines, the locals greet the New Year as loud as they can - with fireworks, children running around blowing tiny horns, and people turning on their cars and motorbikes to make them purr loudly. You can imagine how noisy it can get once the clock strikes twelve.

They also have the New Year version of Noche Buena, though it isn’t as lavish. They call it Media Noche. Some of the dishes that made an appearance during Christmas Noche Buena will possibly make a second appearance during Media Noche. The only difference is that this one will have more sweets, more round-shaped foods, and about 12 circular fruits.

How Europe Celebrates the New Year

  • Russia

You should know that Russia probably celebrates New Year’s first before they celebrate Christmas.

Since they follow the calendar that the Russian Orthodox Church uses, their Christmas will be on January 7th instead of December 25th. This means if you visit for the New Year, you will also most likely be celebrating Christmas afterward.

After their Julian calendar Christmas, you will also have a second New Year celebration on January 14th, per the Julian calendar once again.

Fun fact: There is no Russian New Year if there is no Russian salad on the table.

  • Ukraine

Ukraine is similar to Russia in terms of holiday celebrations. They too follow the same calendar, therefore how they celebrate it will be essentially the same.

Though it’s not a public holiday and offices will still be open during the Orthodox New Year, people still celebrate it with the festive Christmas season in mind. After all, they too have their Christmas on January 7th.

Some events occur during this time, such as cultural and music festivals, organized sleigh rides, and performances of the theatrical nature that have Christmas themes.

Going to Ukraine for the holidays is certainly one way to enjoy a holiday abroad.

A New Year’s celebration in China Regardless of details, one thing countries have in common is that they’re always out to celebrate.

How Latin America Celebrates the New Year

  • Colombia

In Colombia, you are supposed to wear yellow underwear on New Year’s Eve. It’s a holiday tradition to wear yellow undies to guarantee happiness for the entire year. And they need to be new, by the way.

They are also going to burn a doll called the “old year doll,” one that will explode and burn, symbolizing burning the old year for the Colombians.

  • Costa Rica

This country is known for being warm during the winter season. Families typically go to the beaches during the New Year’s and have a countdown party until midnight.

And of course, they have fireworks and go all out.

And like in Colombia, it’s also a tradition to wear new yellow underwear to bring in happiness using the color of happiness itself.

  • Mexico

Aside from having the midnight feast like the people of the Philippines do, they also go to bars or restaurants. They then dance the night away and have countdown parties to welcome the new year.

Some of the officials in their government even organize big celebrations for the people to enjoy in town squares.

And if you go to Oaxaca, you will find yourself confused seeing people break plates after they have some honey-coated dough balls called buñuelos. This is supposed to signify them breaking old habits.

  • Peru

In Peru, many of the locals will make a flower bath. What they do is mix flowers and perfume into a pot, boil it in water, and then after they shower, they will pour that flower mixture onto themselves.

This is said to bring good luck over life opportunities, relationships, and careers. Plus, it makes you smell nice for the New Year.

Travel During the Holidays

Go and celebrate the New Year’s abroad! You get to see so many different holiday traditions that don’t just blow fireworks. You will see all kinds of unique traditions that people follow just to welcome the new year.

Some of their habits and yearly traditions might also bring you some good luck for the coming year.

Break your yearly pattern and try something new. The holidays are for fun and relaxation. What better way to enjoy it than to travel, right?

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